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tv   The Civil War Loudoun County Virginia during the Civil War  CSPAN  January 17, 2022 5:30pm-7:02pm EST

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you so very much. it has been a true delight to be in conversation with you this evening. and it is a delight at the national world war i museum and memorial. stand in that space of trying to keep inaccuracies away from both history and science. and to be bringing conversations like this to you and your homes right now if you're watching live and in the future. you have enjoyed this and you want to share it, you can certainly find it on our youtube page. the easiest way to get there is go the world you can share from there later on. if you want to find out more, of course you should pick up the book. or be following along with dr. stanley at any of his other
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spaces where he is teaching. again, dr. stanley, thank you so very much for being in conversation. >> thank you so much for having me. this is really delightful. >> and thank you all for being here. >> american history tv is on social media. follow us at c-span history. so good evening and welcome to tonight's history on tap program. for those of you who are not familiar with the history on tap series, what we have been doing for the last few years now -- congratulations on anniversary. >> two years old. >> what is the two-year anniversary gift? what should we get each other? >> beer. >> yeah, beer works. so joe, annemarie and i have been traveling around to different breweries, wineries and other establishments throughout the area, telling
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stories of local history. kind of the weird, the wild, the interesting, stories that have slipped through the cracks when it comes to talking about our local history. tonight is kind of a special program because we are here at a historic site, not a brewery. we're here at lovely harrison hall. this house has a lot of historic significance to the american civil war, which we will definitely get into as we move forward this evening. but before we do, i want to turn the mic over to joe here. >> yeah, good evening, everyone. thank you so much for joining us here for history on tap live at harrison hall. my name is joe rizzo. i am the executive director of the loudoun museum located in downtown leesburg. and as always, i am joined by travis, travis shaw, who is the director of education of the virginia piedmont heritage area. >> and also the best dresser of the group. >> his ego is inflated. the c-span crew compliments him
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on his hair and shirt when he arrives. >> they just said i look cool. let's not inflate it. >> was it the crew, one person? . that is accurate. >> let's not get too carried away. >> it will be 150 people by the time the story is told. and i'm joined by anne marie chirieleison. >> no one has said i look cool yet, but it's fine. >> i think you look cool. >> it's fine. >> your husband is in the front row. and now since this is our second annual history on tap fundraiser, we have to bring in the big guns to celebrate, and our special guest or the tonight is dana shoaf, editor of civil war times. >> that's a lot of pressure. >> you can leave if you need to go. >> i'm a little terrified because i haven't been out of the house much, like many of you. >> you look like it. you look it. >> out? >> you know how they say you
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should never follow dogs or babies on stage? well, you should never compete with travis' hair, as we've already heard. so i thought, you know, i should groom myself a little bit before i come down here. and i grabbed this little razor for my beard. and made it once around and the battery ran out. and i'm just thankful i made one circuit because if i had only gotten halfway across, it would have been even worse. but i'm going try to hang in there against the silver fox. and do what i can. nice to meet you all. as was said, i'm the editor of civil war times. i also work as the historian and editor for civil war trails in my free time. so it's a real pleasure to be here. i've never been here before. and this is a beautiful, beautiful place. >> and if you want to see the evolution of travis' hair we do have a youtube channel that has a lot of our -- >> i got it cut. i got it cut.
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>> you can see it grow throughout the pandemic. one way to spend the time when we were all stuck at home. >> yep. >> so how this works, we will each tell a short story about some very local history, particularly civil war history, since we are at historic harrison hall. before we go any further, we do want the say a big thank you to alex and anne who are owners of the property who are letting us use this beautiful property for the program tonight. [ applause ] and we'd also like to thank dynasty brewing located in downtown leesburg and ashburn and a special shout out for the haunts ale available through the month of november. the proceeds benefit the museum. we have it available tonight. it's available all month at dynasty brewing. so i'm drinking the haunts ale, and i'm going to tell a short story that looks at political
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prisoners from loudoun county throughout the civil war. but travis, what are you going to talk about tonight? >> i am also drinking the hauntings ale. cannot recommend it enough. it's delicious. i'm going the tell the story of a local soldier during the civil war, kind of his run of luck both good and bad during the civil war that puts him in a lot of interesting circumstances. >> i'm going to tell the story of a union soldier who sort of became an accidental tourist and was admiring a view when he ran afoul of a well-known confederate guerrilla. >> and what are you drinking? >> oh, i'm drinking the dynasty lager which is amazing. there. >> you go. >> it's really good. this is my third one. >> i'm also having the dynasty lager, and i will be kicking off our program tonight by talking a little bit about harrison hall and some of the stories for which it is well-known.
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however, i hope that the focus of my story will be new to those of you who are familiar with harrison hall or maybe have some new little bits and clues thrown in. so begin off, harrison hall, also known as the glenfiddich house, has its origins in the last part of the 18th century. as you are looking at the house now, there is a portion on the far right that is about 1 1/2, 2 stories tall, and that dates to about 1780 when leesburg was really just being built up, and as one visiting englishman famously said, it was a very badly organize kind of ramshackle town. for more on that, you can ask travis about nicholas cresswell and his drinking binges. >> my favorite guy. >> however, harrison hall had a relatively humble beginnings. but by the 1830s, a gentleman by the name of henry taswell harrison moved into this
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property with his second wife, mary jones harrison, and it's hee who added on the addition that we see tonight making up the core of the building, this italianate structure and the second of the two outbuildings behind it, and of course the land we are sitting on currently on our chairs and back to the block behind you. he bit the house ostensibly so that he and his growing family could fit into less cramped quarters because they did have eight children. and it's not that easy to fit eight children and two adults into the far right portion of the building that you see here. so they must have been a little bit more comfortable having the larger estate available to them. they, of course, did also have enslaved workers living at the household with them as well as working on their properties. now henry taswell harrison was a member of the prominent harrison family of virginia, and his wife mary was not only a jones, her father was a prominent attorney,
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she also is the granddaughter of charles lee. so henry did pretty well for himself marrying into the jones and the lee families. and with their eight children, they have a very merry household. unfortunately for them, there is a civil war that happens. i think you've probably heard of it. and henry finds that his family is also divided along these war lines. his wife's family, the joneses live in washington, d.c. and while certain members of her family are pro-succession and pro virginia, other members including her father are free throw union and count succession as a double treason not just against the united states, but also against the home state of virginia. some of their family members are going to leave d.c. to stay here at harrison hall with the family during the war. i think they're taking a gamble that with their house being watched in d.c., they can live a little bit more freely here in
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loudoun. they may also be thinking that they can get away from the capital and hopefully be away from the war. unfortunately for them, the war is going to come to leesburg in the fall of 1861. of course by fall of 1861, the country has already seen one terrible large battle in the first battle of manassas. and little do they know that it's going to come creeping right back in october. during that time, the union encampments on the north side of the potomac river and the encampments here unc shanks evans in virginia on the leesburg side, they're kind of poking at each other. the war has just begun. they're not very good atsur veiling each other. they're not good at knowing who is in charge and who to communicate indicate with. just kind of sneaking around badly. everyone is fumbling around in the dark a little bit at this point. and it's only a matter of time
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before someone stumbles into the wrong place. enter colonel devons from the union side of things. he is sent across the river to surveil, to recon what he thinks is an encampment of confederate soldiers here. it turns out they're trees and not an encampment. kind of a surprise. >> early in the war. >> it's early in the war. and i don't know. the trees look like tents. i don't know. >> you can laugh, but how many of you have been on a nighttime surveil, okay? >> i don't want to know what you get up to in your spare time. >> raising his hand. >> yeah, at least sober surveil. >> that's a good point. that's a good point. so what was meant to be a simple reconnaissance mission bubbles up into this battle, as i wrote down earlier today, a recon gone wrong.
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okay, yeah, it's bad. it's bad. anyways, these union infantry troops are going across the potomac river. they only have a couple of small skiffs to their name. so they're trying to move hundreds of men across the river going by like 20 men at a time. it's slow-going, but it's a great idea. by the time they get to the top of the bluffs on the other side of the potomac, they end up being met by confederate troops, surprise, surprise. and among these virginians that we see on the fields, you know, just up on the bluffs, we also have a number of troops from the deep south who have been in loudoun county, who have been stationed around leesburg and who have started to make leesburg their home. these individuals have become part of the society here in leesburg, and in fact some of them are frequent guests of the harrisons here at harrison hall. one of the more popular
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gentlemen who comes visiting is a colonel burt who is a colonel of the 18th mississippi. he is a doctor back home in jackson. he has a wife and eight kids of his own back there. and so i think that coming to leesburg and meeting the harrisons who also have eight kids and are a pretty well to do southern family, i'm sure they have a lot in common. in fact, colonel burt makes a special friendship with young virginia miller, a niece of the harrisons who is from washington, d.c. she is about 19, 20 years old, and she is staying there at harrison hall and meets colonel burt. they had a very close friendship and they were close to what you think of as siblings. they had a familial kind of affection for each other. so colonel burt not only feels patriotism for the confederacy, but i think he is probably thinking about the harrisons and the other white people in leesburg when he is there on the heights outside of -- outside of
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the potomac river, really. and things in the morning of october 21st, i'm not going to replay the battle. full disclosure, i'm not a civil war or military historian. what i can tell you is that the end results of the battle of the bluff are pretty clear. as colonel burt and the 18th are going across this field, they're being guided by a marylander, a marylander who is later given credit as a virginian, and that is a mr. elijah white. and right now he is acting as a scout for the confederate army. and he is actually riding direct ing colonel burt in this battle. colonel burt is on the back of his hours at the back of the regiment and writes that colonel burt is moving forward and he did not know that ahead the field was clear, but there was a patch of wood, and the ground
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dropped off. and where that wooded patch was and the ground dropped was just enough cover for the 15th massachusetts to be laying in wait. and he came within 100 yards of that unit when they sprang up and fired a volley. and no other volley he said fired as directly or had as deadly of an impact as did that volley. throughout the rest of elijah white's civil war career, he said that was the deadliest volley he had ever seen. immediately, we're not talking about decimating the 18th mississippi, one out of ten, decimate. it was one out of three, or one out of every two soldiers who is taken out by this volley from the 15th mass. they were just shredded. and one of those bullets came right into colonel burt, entering through his right hip, shattering the bone, and then
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staying lodged inside his body. this is horrific. this is very bad news, and what does burt do? elijah white says he turned to me and said, quote, as if in regular everyday conversation, and said you need to go tell colonel jennifer that i have to leave the field now. >> something's come up. i've got to go. >> you know, there has been -- there has been a thing that just happened. and so -- and i think that is really credit to colonel burt being a doctor and being an officer too, that he tries to remain calm and make things happen. so he leaves the field. and from that point, the battle and the war are over for colonel burt. for the rest of them, to sum things up, the confederate soldiers push all of the union soldiers down the bluffs, down into the river. a large number of union soldiers
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were drowned. on each side there were about 1700 soldiers to begin with. but one thousand casualties were suffered by the union army. so, again, i'm not a military historian, but that's not good. >> yeah, that's pretty bad. >> that's not really what you want. so as i said, colonel burt at this point is taken away from the battlefield, and he brought back here to this house, to harrison hall in an ambulance. and they lay him down in the front hall on a stretcher. this man has just been shot. not even shot through. the bullet is still lodged somewhere in his hip. he is bleeding profusely, and blood is pooling on to the wooden floor beneath him. but he's not alone in that house. remember, there are at least a dozen kids of some kind in harrison hall at any given time, as well as family members and people that are there. and who does colonel burt make
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eye contact across the hall, but the young virginia miller, the young woman he has befriended in this house. and she writes the soldiers that were with him were trying to go find a doctor, were trying to prepare a bed upstairs there was no one right there with colonel burt. so virginia miller rushes to his side and just takes his hand. there is nothing else that she can do for him, but she can take his hand. eventually, after some time, there is space made upstairs for him. colonel burt is taken upstairs and is made as comfortable as can be made for him. and surprising a lot of people, colonel burt hangs in there. a day passes. then another day passes. virginia helps him write a letter to his wife back in mississippi. they have small charge insignificant conversations. for five day, colonel burt
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lingers in this house behind me. as you're looking at it, it's the second story, and i believe it is the second window from the right. as you're looking at it. that bedroom is where colonel erasmus r. burt lay for his final hours. but eventually he does pass away from his wounds, and he is throws at this time accompanied by friends that he has made here in virginia. this death affects virginia miller greatly. and, in fact, it affects many people across the south greatly. balls bluff, if it happened later in the war, it would barely be a skirmish. it's -- we're talking handfuls of men when you compare it to bigger battles like antietam or gettysburg. but it right now it is literally the biggest thing that has happened since manassas.
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so it does make a big difference. it makes an impact in the laves of the people here in loudoun there is a funeral procession, taking his body down to the train station. the regimental band plays, and once he arrives in jackson, there is another parade taking his body home to his wife and his children. his death leaves his family in a tight spot. he was the youngest of the sons of the family. didn't have a lot of resources. is there isn't even a headstone on his grave for 50 years after he dies. but that doesn't mean he was forgotten. because, in fact, virginia miller kept carrying him in her memory. and she wasn't the only one, either. there were some interesting little pieces, you know, as we go forward in the war that make one think that his memory stayed alive. for example, in 1864, there was a william henry louis who was imprisoned on johnson island. and he wrote to a friend of his,
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someone he knew, talking about his old friend. so william henry loose at that time was the lieutenant colonel of the 18th mississippi. and he was serving in that role at the battle of gettysburg when he was captured. and so here when he's imprisoned, he's writing to friends and at that time virginia miller is back in washington, d.c., and she might be able to send him some aid. and apparently they've been writing back and forth a couple of times. but here in september of 1864 he writes to virginia saying something a little interesting and a little specific. it's september 21st that he sends this letter and it's october 21st when colonel burt had received his wound. and so first he writes, and a lot of people say this in the victorian era.
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there's some names that aren't as good. >> easy to remember. i shall be proud if he makes such a man as he. i have not seen him in two years. so someone else thought enough about colonel burt to name his son after him. it's convenient it's a workable name. >> it's pretty good. it's pretty good. i know that it wasn't just virginia miller that kept remembering him although virginia miller, what we know about her interactions is because she did keep a civil war diary. they weren't written when the battle happened but instead were
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written as a retrospective a year later. the diary entries that we do have from her they cover late 1861 into 1862. she's sure to make a point of this is what i remember about the battle of falls bluff and what i remember about colonel burke. they were hidden. they were only found in 1980. where were they found? in the attic of harrison hall. >> dun dun, dun. >> but wait, there's more. residents of leesburg will tell you that harrison hall as a number of ghosts. some suggest that there are daytime ghosts and there are nighttime ghosts. i'm not sure exactly what the difference is. i've heard from the grapevine there's a certain presence
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believed to be colonel burt and he's a daytime ghost and he's a nice guy. one of the encounters that certain believers believe is the bed that is in the room where he died, sometimes you'll walk in the room and there will be a distinct shape of a body lying in the bed. it's very spooky. harrison hall and the greater civil war history is often over shadowed by the bigger events whether it's a bigger battle that had tens of how sands of casualties instead of the paltry 110 or the other generals came and visited this house. kind of pushing off other memories of lesser officers that had been here. nevertheless, those individuals both great and small made an
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impact here at harrison hall. perhaps, they can still be felt today. >> did you add that last bit because it's october and we need to get spooky? >> we need to get spooky. >> it is october and we need to get spooky and you could hear more about the spook them and square them at the loudoun museum haunting stores. >> it is on sale now. next weekend. >> and i'm getting a cut, right? and now we're going to pass things over to dana here to continue our civil war stories. do you want me to hold it? >> i'm going to need your help at some point. but i think white may be a theme tonight. >> remember that name because he's going to come up. and he went down along the bluff
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below the bluff at ball's bluff and captured a number of federal soldiers. and so he really used that -- those exploits he had made a name for himself and he's going to raise a partisan unit operating out of loudoun county. so i'm going to talk about, giving it away a little bit, annen counter a union soldier has with him and that he recorded in his diary. and that union soldier is a man named john nevin. and if you start passing that around. you get a look at our union man of the hour. the map on the back is not relevant but it is fun to look at. it is from a -- >> pennsylvania is never fun to look at. >> oh, come on. come on. that is western pennsylvania and that segues nicely, because years ago, and i'm talking a long time because i used the
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card catalogue, i was waiting for a friend of mine to get off work at the john heinz regional history center in pittsburgh. so i had some time on my hands and i went up and i was poking through the card catalog and i saw an entry for john nevin and diaries, gettysburg campaign accounts. so i got his diary and photocopied and i actually have done a lot with john nevin, sort of a no-name in a way. he's not a major general or anything. but an interesting story come out of his story. to give you a brief background on nevin. when the civil war began he was a 28-year-old teacher in swickly, pennsylvania. if you're familiar with pittsburgh, you have the river coming up from the south and the
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allegheny coming from the north to point where the ohio river and it is just down the ohio river from pittsburgh on the right-hand side if you're heading south. >> is that why we need the map? >> the map is of the state of pennsylvania. but i figured pittsburgh is so great, l.a. should know where it is. it is south of 3 river stadium which is no longer there, travis. you're way behind your pittsburgh game. >> you're dating yourself. >> you're dating yourself. >> embarrassing. >> he will enlist in the 28th pennsylvania as a second lieutenant. and like i said, he was 28 years old and the 28th is commanded by colonel john white geary. and geary is a big 6'6" tall guy and his picture is on a wayside
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here in leesburg at the courthouse. and he is going to command the 28th early in the war. the 28th was raised from both sides of the state of pennsylvania. the east and the west. so it has soldiers from both the philadelphia area and the pittsburgh area obviously with nevin. it is going to muster in philadelphia and it is a huge regimen. for some reason it ended up with 13 to 15 companies. instead of the usual ten. and there is a little bit of a local tie-in because the regimen is ordered to point of rock after the first battle of manassas. and as ann mary was saying, they'll get involved in a pokey proddy things because in late february they're going to put together commanded by geary a sort of task force that is going to move into loudoun county. before that happens, though, they get rid of some of the surplus guys by some of them join naps pennsylvania battery and if you've seen photographs of antietam, there is an image of this battery and that is the battery and also men from the 28th are going to be drafted out
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into or taken out into the 147th pennsylvania. and this is a little rabbit trail to the main story but what i find interesting, i just found out, these three unites have reuns together after the war because they were all sort of bourne out of one regimen. and if you go to many battlefields like gettysburg there is a monument to the 28th p.a. and the p.a. and battery has a monument up there as well very close together. so just across the river, they're dividing this regimen up on the front lines. the 28th is going to be ordered as i said to make this movement. and just before they do that they march down to harper's ferry. i'm going to give you the microphone if i may. pull out this -- see if i could
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drop all of these papers. >> do you have your library cart? >> library catalog, guys. >> right. so what i want to do and if you don't mind holding, is i want to read you, nevin is a well educated young man and a teacher as i said. and he keeps a diary of his experiences throughout the war. portions of them are missing and i would really like to do more with it but there is a big chunk of the service, one of the dairies is not in the history center. and he -- the 28th gets this assignment to go into loudoun county and they're going to march down and be all over the place. leesburg, waterford showing the flag and prying to figure out what is going on down here as far as confederate forces. again very early in 1862. so when this movement is ordered, nevin is sick. he's laying in bed in a house in harper's ferry and he watches his regimen march out of harper's ferry across a pontoon and i think it is short hill that they went up and over. and he's very vexed by this and
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he writes in his diary, i watched as that thin blue line disappeared until it reaches the summit of the mountain and disappeared in a dull wintry forest beyond. so the next day, he decides that it might be a bright idea, he doesn't want to miss the war, right, his comrades are gone. he hauled himself out of bed and he's going to follow his regiment and catch up with them. so let's pick up with some entries from his diary after he said this. he's climbing up short hill and he said, i continued to ascend the mountain after frequently making, resting at length, i reached the summit. once i could look back down into the valley beyond and i did not take long to realize, with some anxiety, as i saw in vain our little army which was out of
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sight. so he can't see his comrades. and of course the tree cover is much less. he's looking down what he called the leesburg valley. and he can't see his friends. but no, not a sign was there that any war had passed. okay. it gets a little -- at times. the valley lay peaceful and still in the bright warm sunshine that i now felt certain that i had for sometime suspected that i had lost my way. yes yet i was little concern that we have not met the enemies since we talks about crossing toward harper's ferry, upon the pontoon bridge are pickets extended far beyond the spot where i stood. while the valley i had just quitted and are detachment was going into, i could look back and see other detachments in harper's ferry like thin black threads marching into the town. i sat down on a large rock to rest for a few moments and
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consider what to do. now i think this is the same as buzzard's rock that was on short hill that he sits on to view -- and many of you have done this, climbed up to maryland heights and seen photographs looking into harper's ferry and you could imagine the scene. it is crawling with union soldiers and he could see all of this activity and he becomes sort of this tourist at this point. how glorious it did seem to me what more was added to the natural beauty of the scene. the yankee army was still marching into the town carrying with it what destiny, what terrible consequences to reach the enemy, who can tell even at
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this moment the bright sunlight sitting back from the burnish bayonets of some regiment as it crossed that black thread of a bridge while the mellow strain of its band saintly fills the air. so he's pretty descriptive. and there is a lot of romance here. some of the early war romance and he continues on describing this, talked about the pretty girls of maryland and looking back on the hills and the bails of maryland and all of the pretty girls he met along the way. and he continues, what adventures may i not go through now. what chance of promotion and glory may not be mine in this campaign. yes, then on to richmond. things change abruptly for our tourist here when he writes, i heard a rustling of leaves on one side and another and all around me i saw men with
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overcoat as poach me and i looked in vain for an outlet but there was no escape. they close in on me with all sides and ask pointing 40 guns at hi breast, called on me to surrender. sounds like someone should have spent less time writing poetry and more time paying attention. he went paying attention. i looked around, i looked around for their captain and as he stepped forward, i told him, i am your prisoner. well that is obviously. >> oh, okay. >> he got that right. instead of immediately answering me, he deliberately aimed it at my head. he said i'm in the habit of treating my prisoners kindly and
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i wish to do the same by you. but as short as there is a god in heaven, if you don't tell me the truth about your army, i'm going to blow your damn yankee brains out this moment. >> okay. there is some sub limitity in them. >> this is his introduction to elijah white. white had formed his men after ball's bluff in october and he was authorized because of his exploits his name got around and he was mirroring geary's men as they move into loudoun county and they shadow and up on the bluff watching what was going on when they saw nevin and sit down on the this rock. so, nevins had been captured and he continues to write, it isn't a pleasant sensation that one feels with the muzzle of a revolver six inches of your
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eyes. i experienced the curious feeling in my forehead. hi a consciousness of a little circle about a half inch in diameter just between my eyes as if that particular spot was suddenly endowed with extra nerve for the purpose. it was a bit much. >> you're kind of judgy today. >> i want to mare about the maryland girls. >> being judgy now of nevin and his poor plight. so he's looking back at the threatening faces around me and as he said, the ludicrous of this sun falling off at the end of my magnificent scheme struck me. yeah, his whole plan, you don't say. and he said now i had a new reading of my on to richmond boast. he said i was frightened but thank god i didn't let the
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rebels know it. okay. >> he just said i am your prisoner. how did he not let them know. >> he didn't let them know he was afraid. i may have turned pale, he says, but i know i had a smile on my face as i replied, i'm an officer of the federal army and of course i'm not a liberty to tell you anything to regard to the numbers and movements and if you are carrying on war according to civil liezed customs, i don't believe you will shoot me, i think there is too much discipline among you to allow any of you to shoot a prisoner. so, then he continues and he finishes this paragraph, i realize i was in a hands of a guerrilla chief and they were seldom known to make prisoners. so he's hoping that they don't shoot him. so as this interchange is going on, a shot rings out.
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and white and another man go running off into this little corpse of trees where they find one fellow men had accidentally discharged a pistol. so they decide that -- white decides we better get out of here. and they try to get nev in to walk along but he's sick. and nevin is -- quote, he treated me with the utmost kindness observing that i look weak and sick and was considerably jaded by a long ride in a tough time behind a calvary men's saddle. he said white ordered a man to dismount and give me his horse. so white then comes next to him and he's riding with nevin and they're taking him to leesburg to interrogate him and he said white then entered into a long rambling discourse about himself, his exploits, the
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southern cause, the last ditch of the everglades of virginia where they were all going to go die if the war went poorly. so white is saying, you know, we're just going to go into the everglades and continue the war if it goes against us. i feel like this guy knows a long rambling discourse when he sees one. oh, travis. >> wait until it is your turn. >> i also like how he's like i didn't look -- i looked so sick and weak that they felt bad and gave me a horse. >> so nevin continues. the captain although somewhat vain, that might apply to more thaun one person here -- >> oh! >> i didn't point anyone else and travis is suddenly feeling guilty.
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was a pleasant enough fellow in his hatred to the north and his mistaken zeal for southern rights. then he goes on and ranted about colonel geary and the 28th pennsylvania is taking and stealing everything. and then white said, do you remember seeing in your papers last fall an account of the officer on a white charger that used to appear in front of edwards ferry and look over at your work, the union works, well they used to fire him with their big guns all in vain. this is white speaking. well this mayor is the charger, he taps his horse with his whip. and i'm the man. your papers didn't know whether it was bauregard or johnson. so white is sort of boasting there and nevin continues, notwithstanding his vanity, ignorance and want of polish,
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this captain was a very good officer being peculiarly well adapted to the partisan service. how many guys did the confederates have, you have mosby and gilmore and white. so they had plenty of those. his men, this is an interesting description of white's guys. his min were stout hearty fellows but plainly attired. well be plainly attired and home spun. the other thing military in their attire were their heavy gray overcoats with which they were provided. they were armed with guns of every description from the heavy old family rifle to the double barreled shotgun. two of three of them only had sabres. the captain with good humor told me they were going to get better arms from the yankees and to practically illustrate the
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matter, he cooley buckled on to himself my sword and taking out my resolve and admiring it and telling me how glad he was to get it. so he took his gun. and nevin goes on here for a while but he concludes, at this section, such was captain white and his partisan rangers. so, thank you. so, again, i love these little vignettes because there is a big war going on and here is this guy having his own little private experience with elijah white. and what i think happened is, to continue the story. they take nev in to leesburg where he's interest gated by i believe a.p. hill and then taken to centerville where joe johnson talked to him. this is what he said further in his diary here. and then he sent to libby prison in richmond. and evenly he's transferred to salisbury, north carolina, when
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the forces get too close during the peninsula campaign and then he will be paroled, okay. now what i think happened is nevin went home and wrote this, i don't they -- i've been calling it a diary but i think this is a fresh reminiscence and not mentioning white until the end. but i think there is truth in the matter about what happened to his recollection and it fits with white's personality when you read about him. and nevin will go on and i won't go into all of the details, but he will be paroled, go back home, form an artillery battery, and he will raise this independent battery h. and sent to washington for training and nevin gets in trouble with his commanding officer william berry and never get in trouble with a guy named farcore and so in the
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national archives there is a document in nevin's service record in which berry writes this guy is incompetent to command an artillery battery and if he doesn't resign i'm going to court martial him. i don't know what nevin did because he resigned. but he makes yet -- if you first don't succeed, try again. le come back, nevin, and he's the major of the 93rd pennsylvania, okay. and he will command that regiment in the battle of gettysburg and he will lead that regiment because the colonel has an alcohol problem. and is not up front. and what is interesting and again i could talk about this at more length, but in the 93rd regiment history nevin is omitted from it because he's an outsider in an eastern p.a. and they don't want to acknowledge they had a problem with a
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colonel and they ignore nevin even though he does really good service and gets his act together. so that is a little account of some interesting activity here in loudoun county related to elijah white and this one union soldier. and i have another little thing and should i wait on that or talk about the other documents i have now? >> i don't know why everyone looked at me. >> hang on to this. >> yeah. >> let's also have a quick toast to nevin. and honestly to farcore for having that name. >> court martial them all. >> is that the bad guy in shrek? >> that's far court. well i have my papers all mixed up. here we go. i'm going to pass these documents around too. i think they're really cool. there are three -- come on up and grab them, mike. thank you.
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cheer for mike. >> yeah. >> great. >> thank you, mike. so these documents are related to loudoun county as well. and there is three small documents and one larger one in this plastic thing i'm passing around. but they were found, i purchased these online from a dealer and they were found in an envelope that is bearing the name of come eliy janney. you've already named your pets. that would be a good name. >> could be a good name. >> and on the envelope it said father pass also mine and these documents concern a trip that acea war janey who lived from 1842 to his daughter made to baltimore in early february 1863. he owned a sawmill between goose
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creek and circleville. between middleberg east of filla mont. and there are two letters, they are very short letters of introduction dated february 5th, 1863 from thomas hoag, a loudoun county name and quaker. does that noim sound familiar. and they're written to the custom houses which is today brunswick and francis cochran of baltimore. both refer to janey as an unprom comizing union man. and acea apparently traveled by horse and carriage to the potomac river and made his way across to sandy hook, maryland. >> which is where we just were not too long ago. >> we did a first monday facebook thing at sandy hook and got a pass from the marshal at sandy hook that allows janey to go to harper's ferry where they took a train to baltimore. so the last large document is a
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letter of introduction dated february 7th, 1863, to introduce janey and his daughter to major general robert shenk, commander of the middle department headquartered in baltimore. the middle department is like a big administrative department for the p.a. and so shenk was sort of a -- not going to sound great for him, sort of a pencil-pushing administrative general. but the letter was signed by two baltimore businessmen, gerald hoffman and j. reese. and reese married a. janey. so that is why he -- they probably went to his house and got these letters of introduction. we don't know the nature of the visit. but the janeys unionists ander with having some issues with confederates trying to get some help out of baltimore. and we were talking beforehand
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about the border is abstract, right. and how many guys from loudoun county go over and fight with the loudoun rangers or the potomac brigade and then around pointer rocks there is quite a few marylanders that cross over and fight with elijah white. >> elijah white is a marylander. >> yeah. >> and of course white ends up going on, he survives the war and he fights at brandy station, and after the war he will have the ferry white's ferry which is now closed. >> he also found the bank in town which is now white foot restaurant. >> big name here in leesburg and he's buried north of here in union cemetery. >> but he's a marylander. >> but some of the marylanders that come over are ardent confederates. so that is my little vignette about loudoun county and i managed to make it through travis's heckling to save the story.
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thank you. as a marylander -- no, before i begin, i do want to apologize to dana. you're my favorite western pennsylvanian. the only one i know. that is okay. >> yeah. >> so that was a great segue to the story that i'm going to tell because dana did mention that there are, although the majority of people here in loudoun county in 1861 are going to support the confederate cause, there is still a sizable minority of people who are going to cross the river, who are going to support the united states army during the civil war. what i'm going to do is take kind of a brief look at what i think is one of the more compelling people to serve in
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the united states army from loudoun county and that is a man named luther slater. i like to call him lucky luther slater. his luck is not always good, but -- but i think what i find so interesting about him is that luck, whether good or bad, seems to put him into interesting circumstances during the civil war. he is going to find himself kind of at the center of a lot of really incredible experiences over the course of the civil war. so, luther slater is born in 1841. he's born just outside of lubbock, so just a few miles northwest of us here. and in case you couldn't tell from his name, he is a lutheran, part of this german migration that comes to northern loudoun
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county mostly from pennsylvania and from western maryland. in fact, two this day some people still refer to lovittsville as the german settlement for this reason. and what this migration going to do is it is going to give this part of loudoun county a very different culture than the rest of the county. in the northwestern part of the country of lovittsville, nearsville on down to goose creek, to waterford, you're going to have a lot of german immigrants, a lot of quakers, a lot of people who are coming from pennsylvania and maryland, they're cultural roots are to the north, their economic ties
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are to the north. their family ties are to the north. and that is going to set them apart from their neighbors in the eastern and southern parts of loudoun county. these are parts of loudoun county that are largely settled by english, tidewater planters from the eastern parts of virginia. they're going to bring with them plantation, agriculture, they're going to bring with them a reliance on enslaved labor. and these differences are going to play out in a very deadly way in the american civil war. but luther slater as a young man is kind of the stereo typical hard working very pious industrious german family. as a young man he's going to
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decide that he wants to go into a career in the clergy. and john mosby and help defend local unionists here particularly in northwestern loudoun county. and at tender age of 21, luther slater despite any lack of experience is going to be elected first lieutenant. so he is second in command in the loudoun rangers to the commander samuel means. now word quickly spreads throughout loudoun county that theresy unionist calvary being raised and as you could probably imagine this is not very popular.
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it is particularly unpopular with a particular confederate officer that we've mentioned a few times. dana, who do you think that guy is? >> elijah white. >> that is right. who at the same time is raising his own calvary which will become the 35th calvary. he's going to get word that sam un means is recruiting a unionist calvary so he declared in the summer of 1862 his intention to, quote, whip sam means and in august of 1862 he's going to get that opportunity. he gets that samuel mean is in waterford, he's there with a few recruits, he's got about 20 or so men in town with him and so elijah white and his battalion are going to make a sneak attack upon the loudoun rangers while their stale recruiting in waterford.
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so early in the predawn hours of august 27th they're going to creep across the fields and farms surrounding waterford, they're trying to avoid the roads or any pickets that might be on watch and just as they're about to spring their trap, they're challenged by a union officer outside of the waterford baptist church and that officer just happens to be young luther slater, first lieutenant of the loudoun rangers. he's going to challenge these men approaching out of the darkness and shots ring out and this is the beginning of an intense fire fight that occurs in the village of waterford. now, samuel means, the commander, he managed to slip out of his house and disappear into the early morning darkness and leaving luther slater and her men behind in the village of waterford to fend for themselves. i'm not one to comment on
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leadership, but this is the start of a trend with samuel means if you ask me. you're laughing at this. >> not the best record. >> not the best record. you're right. but luther slater is going to gather the 20 or so men he has and they're going to fortify themselves wb the waterford baptist church and you could still go see this church today. it's a fairly stout brick building. it is a very defensible position and for the next several hours slater and his men are going to defend this place like it is the alamo. their under a hail of bullets and they surround the building and there is numerous times where the confederates demand their surrender and at some point during this fight slater himself is wounded. he's one of many men who are hit during this fire fight. he's actually shot in the head, the chest, the arm, and the
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hand. >> and as a reminder, he said this was a lucky guy. he got shot in the head. >> well his story -- >> it is easier to say where he wasn't shot. >> well he's lucky because our story isn't going to end here. a spoiler alert. >> oh, okay. >> so slater is lying on the floor of the church, he's trying to command as long as he can. but he's literally lead -- bleeding out on the floor of this church as the confederates are surrounding him. >> so lucky. >> and eventually, or it gets better. i'm known for telling a downer. so, eventually his men start to run low on ammunition as i said there is casualties on both sides, and finally after the third demand for their surrender, the loudoun rangers
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will lay down their arms under the condition they are allowed to be paroled rather than go to southern prisoner war camps. and when elijah white enters the church, he sees luther slater lying on the floor bleeding out and he said i'm sorry to see you so dangerously wounded, lieutenant. >> are you though? >> you did it. i mean, he did it. he's sorry he did it. brother against brother. that is a whole different story for a whole different time. so this looks like the end fof our guy luther slater. but as he said, he's a fairly lucky fellow and despite everyone's predictions, he will survive the wounds that he received at the waterford baptist church. in fact, after a few weeks, he's going to be moved north to pennsylvania. they figure the safest place for him to recovery is going to be
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at the home of one of his colleague buddies, one of the guys he had gone to school with before the war and so he is going to settle in in pennsylvania. now, we're going to introduce a little bit of romance because while he's recuperating he's under the care of his friend'ster molly. and molly is the guardian angel in this story. she's going to take care of him, literally nurse him back from the edge of death and help him to recover his strength to the point where in november of 1862 he is able to rejoin his unit, he comes back to the loudoun rangers. but despite all of molly's care, his old wounds are still giving him a lot of trouble. he's basically lost mostly the use of one of his arms, his arm was effectively shattered by a confederate bullet.
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so he's going to be under a lot of duress. and so in february of 1863 he's going to resign his commission in the loudoun rangers and he's going to return back north to pennsylvania and presumably to the waiting arms of molly who has, you know, seems to be the thing that keeps him going throughout all of this experience. because he's so lucky. he's so lucky. >> this is where he gets lucky. >> yeah. this is on c-span. >> sorry. >> so, yeah, he's lucky. he gets to go retire essentially to a quiet corner of pennsylvania where he is going to sit out the rest of the war in relative peace and harmony. for his age. >> or is he? >> because one of the things i've kind of omitted from the story is molly's family live in a little town in southern pennsylvania called gettysburg. when ch in 1863 is not the best place to go to avoid the civil war. >> so lucky. >> so lucky. lucky luther. so, he's a guy that really can't
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avoid the sense of duty, the sense of patriotism, so as the confederate army is crossing the mason-dixon line and entering pennsylvania, he's going to offer his services to the governor of pennsylvania and he is going to receive a commission in the 26th pennsylvania emergency militia. specifically in company a. 26th. and reason of the reason is company a. is made up of students from gettysburg college, what was the pennsylvania college, now gettysburg college and the lujan theological seminary in gettysburg. so you have a 22-year-old officer who has seen some experience, he's been horribly wounded in battle. >> he has one functional arm. >> yeah, he's literally going into battle with his arm in a sling almost a year after his wounding.
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leading a bunch of students who have never heard a shot fired in anger. and -- >> what could go wrong? >> what could go wrong? >> despite this, despite this he and the 26th pennsylvania are going to march out on the morning of june 26th, 1863, and they're going to take up a position on marsh creek along the cashtown pike west of gettysburg, pennsylvania, to face lee's battle hardened veterans of the army of northern virginia. so i can't even imagine what is going through this guy's mind that morning as you look out, looking to the west, you're seeing a long column of guys clad in gray and butternut and marching towards you. what slater had -- did not know is these were men of the corp, hardened veterans and they're being escorted by calvary as they advance through the countryside.
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now in one of the weird twists of fate as i said, weird luck has a weird way of popping up in luther slater's life, those confederate calvary men are members of the 35th battalion, led by who, dana? >> elijah white. >> none other than elijah white. so here in some of the opening shots of the gettysburg campaign, we have two men representing loudoun county, one loudoun born, one maryland, but adapted to loudoun county, on opposite sides of the battlefield. now, unfortunately for luther slater, unluckily, hey luck could be good and it could be bad. but luckily for luther slater -- >> wait a minute. now you turn it around. >> you're just going to give me a hard time. >> always. >> yeah. >> unlucky for luther his men will not put up the fight that
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they did back at the waterford church. they are scattered like leaves in the wind. these confederate veterans roll over them about 175 of them are captured and they're baggage is burned, luther escapes but this is effectively the end of his frontline service during the american civil war. now one of the reasons that i love this story is because just a few days later the confederate army is going to approach gettysburg for a second time and when they see guys in blue uniforms out along the pike, they're going to figure oh, this is probably just the same militia guys we rolled over less than a week earlier. what they're going to find out is that is absolutely not the case and that these are veteran calvary men with the army of the potomac backing them. so i like to think that some of that confederate overconfidence in walking back in to gettysburgs is due to the
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performance of the pennsylvania militia but i'm just trashing pennsylvania at this point. >> thanks a lot. >> so as i said, this is the end of luther slater's front line duty but he is going to remain in the united states army serving in the medical corp, he's going to serve in the signal corp. and in the fall of 1864, he is going to finally marry molly and make an honest woman out of here her. it is a beautiful love story. the two get married and they have a daughter soon afterwards. and at the end of the war, this young family is going to uproot themselves and return here to loudoun county. they're going to return to lovittsville. and as they settle in, luther is going to have positions with the local government, he's going to be a post master and serve in a few different capacities. but this is where you've already made fun of me once, but this is where his luck really turns and not for the best.
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because in 1871 poor molly, the love of his life is going to die shortly after the birth of their second child. she will die just six years, seven years after they were married. they're young son david who was born at the time of her death will die just a few weeks later. sadly, although if you ever go to gettysburg and you visit evergreen cemetery there on cemetery hill, the one that was the center of the fighting at the battle there, you will see molly and her son buried there in her home town. so at this point luther really kind of throws himself into his work and he's going to move to washington, d.c. and he's going to take a position with the pensions bureau. raise your hand if you've been to the national building museum in washington. one of my absolute favorite
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museums in the entire country. i love this place. this massive, massive brick building in washington, d.c. was built to house the pension department because for the first time in american history, we literally had hundreds of thousands of veterans who needed pensions, who their families, their next of kin needed some sort of payment for their service during the american civil war. and so luther slater is going to take a very important role as a clerk in the pensions office. how important? well anyone who has ever done any sort of research into a civil war soldier has benefited from his work. luther slater was on the team that helped develop the system of cards for compiled service records for civil soldiers. so if you've ever been on fold three trying to chase down your ancestors military service, the
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compiled service records are the first place you're going to look and i will raise a glass to luther slater for helping to develop that system because it is a very useful system. >> here, here. >> not just for a researchers, but certainly for the families of veterans and the veterans themselves who were trying to get money for their military service after the civil war. he's also do going to take on a leadership role in another organization and that is the military order of the loyal legion of the united states. or moll. so he's one of the founding officers of the washington, d.c. chapter of mol. he's one of the founding members of the kind of lutheran church community in washington, d.c., played a very important social role within the nation's capitol up until his very unexpected death in 1909. now, as kind of a eulogy for
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luther slater here, i do want to share just a few words that others wrote about him. now, fred answorth who was one of his bosses there at the pension bureau describes slater and said that his loss to the department will be the most difficult to replace. which, you know, your boss said that about you, that is pretty nice. i like that. but a much more heartfelt memorial comes from one of the men who served along luther in the loudoun rangers. that is another loudoun county man named briscoe goodhart. in the memoirs he wrote that luther slater was not only obeyed ab respected, but loved by all. a large physically well built man, a true type of american soldier, and brave as a lion.
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so i think a very fitting tribute to a locally born soldier, a soldier who served in the united states army unlike a lot of his neighbors. he's the only commissioned united states officer from the civil war to be buried in lovittsville, so next time you're in the cemetery stop by and pay a little visit to our man luther slater. here, here. [ applause ] >> the lutheran church was in taylorstown. >> slater lane and he was born in a farm right alongside slater's lane and buried alongside slater's lane. so a very fitting tribute. >> do want to say that none of us are ever as lucky as luther slater. >> i don't know. i mean the guy was shot in four different places and survived
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the civil war. so, like -- got to marry a love pennsylvania girl. >> there is always a but. >> curious that he's not buried with his wife a little bit. >> so, yeah, i'm glad you brought that up. his first wife is buried in gettysburg, pennsylvania, along with her family. three years after she died, he did remarry. >> whoa! >> he remarried a cousin. >> whoa! >> i'm not trying to besmurch this guy. it is only okay if year in the 19th century. so he remarried three years after her death and he is buried with his second wife as well as his daughter from the first marriage. they're all buried together in lovittsville. >> all right. >> just a little aside -- >> you're trying to tear this guy down. >> no. don't ever call me lucky. but it is a little curious aside, white was at gettysburg, of course the famous story is
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the army of northern virginia didn't have enough calvary because jeff stewart was off doing his own thing. but white and stewart did not get along. and so they were together at brandy's station in june of '63 by the time the campaign begins in earnest is not working out so they send white off sort of detached to end up with the corp. >> and ends up running into another loudoun county guy in the hills of southern pennsylvania. >> take it home. >> bring us on home. >> as far as stories go. if you've seen the previous on tap, travis could be depressing in some of the stories, this isn't that bad. >> no, we're good. >> so all things considered, loss of an arm and a wife, there were no murders, no plane crashes, there was nothing like that. >> it is a happy story. >> yeah. >> and that is why i think he's lucky. >> so the story i want to tell,
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you're going to hear some familiar names. but as you could probably already tell, and you might already know, loudoun county has unionists and it has some successionists and you have both armies back and forth throughout the county. and i want to talk about some prisoners, but when you think of prisoners of war, you often probably think of the john nevins who get caught in good scenario and then you think of libby prison and andersonville and el myra. i want to talk about some people getting swept up in war and end up in prison as political prisoners. and for my story, i want to start in early 1863 with the lod youn rangers. again a loudoun union unit and captain means from waterford, in control of them. and when he is in this northern loudoun area in the spring of 1863, he wants to show that they're in the area.
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and he is had some individuals that he wanted some retaliation on. and he uses this moment to take some prisoners that he thinks are worthy of being imprisoned for some previous acts. and there is a couple of successionists not surprisingly within those who get arrested by means and the loudoun range res. most notably of them was a man named henry ball. henry ball, he lived a little bit north of here around the locket area. if you're family temple hall, he owns temple hall on route 15 a bit north of here. now, samuel means is pretty sure that it is ball who led the soldiers to that baptist church in waterford that travis had
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mentioned. so he and ball was notable in the area. so they arrive and arrest ball and amongst other individuals, another one of note named al better campbell belt. also from the locket area. now immediately there is outram over the two civilians who get arrested. again it is not the most common thing. and it is also fears of what this might lead to. now, as travis mentioned, you may have heard of the bastle of gettysburg. that interrupted some confederate plans to get these two individuals released by the united states. but after gettysburg, there is once again a resumption to release these two individuals. now the families have been going from day one to try to get some sort of way to get these two individuals out of prison. and i'm going to call them successionists for the sake of the story, they're send across the potomac and go to fort delaware, a notorious prison for some prisoners of war spies and other criminals. in the summer of 1863, it is jeb stewart who now is looking for ways in which to get these men back potentially.
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and he writes to a man i guess he doesn't get along with very well, elijah white, i don't want to talk about him. i'm sick of him. but he writes to elijah white saying, i want you to take captive a man named acea bonds. who is bond? who also happens to be the father in law of samuel means, the man who arrested henry ball. >> it is personal now. >> it's personal. >> these people all know each other. this is a small county. so he said, i want to take him as a hostage for these two successionists who were taken prisoner earlier. elijah white is okay about that but suggested maybe take a second person and then it would be a two for two swap. two unionists for two successionists. and that is the plan and elijah white sends a few of his
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soldiers to waterford to basically do this undertaking. and at first they go to the other person that they plan to take. a man named william williams. he was head of an insurance company in waterford. they arrive at his house on a sunday evening and knock on the door, and polite that way but when it was open by williams, a revolver is in his face, unlucky part. and they tell him they're taking him prisoner. his wife pleads for the confederates not to do so. but they take him. and now it is on to acea bonds. but they might not have twitter but rumors float around pretty easily in waterford. and there is no -- that this is happening. there are confederates in the area. >> the whatsapp.
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>> waterford social media is buzzing. >> waterford uncensored was lighting up. >> so they made a mistake and they realize going into acea bond house second because by the time they arrive at bond's home, it is not bond who answers the door, it is two ladies. and there is a successionist lady that writes about the account about what supposedly happen and i'll let netty dawson give the recounts better than i can. she wrote, mrs. means and mrs. bonds stood in their door and dared the southerners to enter. they did enter. slapped mrs. mean and mrs. bond fired a resolver on them. they took it from her. >> waterford ladies. >> they mean business. >> yeah. >> you're go fog be a unionist in virginia, you better be. >> she slapped her in the face. >> yeah. in the jaw. >> that is what netty dawson said. he said if we dared to do with a yank we would have been shot instantly. >> yep, probably. >> maybe. >> mess around and find out. isn't that what people say. >> that is the edited version of what they say. >> now whatever happens, happened.
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but during this time, acea bonds slipped out, they don't get the prime suspect who they're supposed to get. so these confederates are like oh, know, we missed the main target. we goofed. oh, no. but we better take someone else. so we have to have two people to return back with to white. so they went to robert holing worth home, the local quaker school master and they take him. >> is he lucky too? by travis standards? >> if he survived the war, i'm going to count it. i'll allow it. >> now these two individuals didn't do anything. for the union army they would say the two successionists did do some acts and what they were charged with, again, samuel
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means thought henry ball led union troops or led confederates to union soldiers at that baptist church. those men were charged with horse stealing and burning some products to keep them out of union hands. now once these two unionists are taken captive, they are taken to elijah white. and basically the county is abuzz that next day. you have unionists and successionists pleading the case to let theme these men go. they are worried this could lead to continued escalation and retaliation by both sides. elijah white doesn't let the two men go. so the two go up there. both families of all four individuals are working together throughout this process as well. they are pleading with u.s. representatives and confederate ones as well. three weeks goes pretty quickly. they are unsuccessful for getting the rerelease of secess.
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now at this point, samuel and rangers think why are you going back. you're here. let's keep them from going back. so the rangers actually plan essentially a mock arrest and say we're going to take you before you can go back. so they leave a little early and are just ahead of the rangers who want to take them ushd arrest. and they eventually finalize his encampment. and white wasn't in a good mood at the time and says you're going to be treated like other prisoners of war. you're going to go on foot down to richmond. and they sent to castle thunder, a notorious prison for the head of that prison in richmond. but several other political prisoners and other spies and the like at castle thunder. >> you could tell it is bad because it sounds like a place in a comic book. as a general rule.
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>> well they're lucky, they're there. >> they're lucky. >> this could be cost, they could be shot six times, another lucky person. >> at this time, the successionists and the unionist families are working together, they have a common goal to get these four individuals out. and william williams' wife gets plenty of signatures from unionists in virginia and she's making the case to the united states to let these men go. both sides, secessionists and unionists could lead to continued escalation and retaliation by both sides. he doesn't let the two men go. he is convinced to give them a three week parole. he tells the two unionists who he has prisoner, i'm going to give you three weeks. you're going to go back up to waterford, and you're going to convince the united states to it's from president lynn cob saying let theeds individuals go. when i was reading about this,
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it made me think to an "office" episode where you can't get get out of jail free cards. those thing its cost thousands. i think of that moment because it seems too good to be true and it is. even though president lincoln writes this letter to the head of prisons, secretary of war stanton countermans that request. no, no, no, no. if we do this, this is going to dpet more and more hostages taken. it's going to get copy cats like this. so these two are staying in prison. so disappointed, even with a letter from the president, mrs. williams returns back to waterford, failed on that mission to get the two individuals out. at this point, attention goes to let's get the secessionists out. so secessionists make appeals for the confederacy. you even get henry ball writing from prison saying, i don't want
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people taken prisoner on account. he didn't like virginias being captured by other virginians. and his letter has a good effect and an effective one. and the two individuals in castle thunder are released from confederate prison. all they have to do is take an oath and get a travel permit and head back ohm. the two unionists say we're the no taking an oath. they have another challenge. they didn't want to take the oath to the confederacy, but at least for them they know an individual within the war department who gets them travel permits. they were able to take the train up to the stanton area, and then can walk on home. now, even while they're walking back, they get captured again. >> so lucky. >> he was a lucky guy. >> thankfully for them, it's a short capture. they are released pretty quickly, and then from stanton, they are able then to walk back
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home and in dramatic fashion, william williams, anne hollingsworth, they arrive back to waterford, william has smallpox while he's in prison. they make it back to waterford on christmas day, 1863. >> very hallmark. >> a secession christmas is laid out for you right here. >> a secession christmas! this is a story handmade for the hundreds we make every year. now, when word was getting out in early december that the two unionists were out of prison, then stanton relented and the two secessionists were released from fort delaware, and they returned home just before the new year to loudoun county, so all four of them do make it home by the end of 1863. but i think it's a great story for showing that people get caught up in war, even if you're
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not directly involved in it, and when you're in a location like loudoun county where you're near the potomoc river, you have varying degrees of the war, for and against, and sometimes war is unavoidable. sometimes you might bring it upon yourself being a notable secessionist, sometimes you might be a school master caught in the wrong place at the right time but war doesn't take breaks for anyone, particular in areas where there's so much activity, like here in loudoun county. >> what do we toast to, joe. >> to being home for christmas. >> [ applause ] now, we have some time for questions. if you have any about any of the four stories, feel free to ask. we'll bring a microphone your way. >> will we? >> c-span will bring you a microphone. >> i see a question. the halo around rich gillespie. >> it's so much a question but a
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celebration. >> wait for the mic. >> now you can celebrate. >> i think it's amazingly cool that here in loudoun county you told a story about four prisoners at all of their houses are still standing. >> cheers to that. >> it's almost like we have a very robust community of preservation organizations here in loudoun county. are there any other questions or comments. >> will before we go i would just like to thank all of you for coming and thank you to alex letting us use this place to hold this event. >> washington -- since c-span was founded in
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1979, historian and author richard norton smith has taken part in many of the networks programs, forums, -- and special projects, as well as on book tv in american history tv. suspense that down with him for nearly eight hours to get his insights on american history, popular culture, good books and more. up next, part one of that conversation, which focuses on his early books, bob dole, and u.s. presidents. >> richard norton smith, can you remember the very first moment in your life that history matter to you? >> history was always very personalized. history existed in the memories, the stories of elderly people around me. particularly, my maternal grandparents. my grandfather was born in 1895 and my grandmother in


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